Green Bay Packers vs. Oakland Raiders: Oakland Grades, Notes and Quotes

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2015

Green Bay Packers vs. Oakland Raiders: Oakland Grades, Notes and Quotes

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    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    The Oakland Raiders crumbled in critical moments that separate playoff teams and non-winning football teams in a 30-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

    The Raiders offense put the team in an early deficit with two interceptions—including one pick-six. After clawing back into the game, the offense went limp in the final quarter, scoring zero points down the stretch.

    In between the pivotal opening and ending quarters, the Raiders showed grit, fight and provided hope for a comeback.

    Before halftime, defensive lineman Benson Mayowa recovered a fumble, which led to a touchdown pass that helped the Raiders regain their footing in the contest.

    Oakland returned to the field with some firepower, but not enough to maintain pace with Green Bay. Penalties often hurt this young team on critical third downs, granting the Packers free yardage.

    For Oakland, the final quarter ended with poor communication on a few offensive drives, which allowed the Packers to sit on a lead until the final whistle.

Position Grades for Raiders

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    Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    Quarterbacks: C

    Quarterback Derek Carr threw two horrendous interceptions in the first quarter, which helped the Packers gain a 14-0 lead. He finished with 276 passing yards and evened his touchdown-to-interception ratio, but the early deficit hurt his team out of the gate.

    Running Backs: B 

    Latavius Murray handled every carry among the running backs. As the featured ball-carrier, he made the most of his opportunities in the first half, registering 15 carries for 64 yards. However, his touches dwindled down to six carries yielding 14 yards in the second half.

    Wide Receivers: B

    Amari Cooper found his way against the Packers secondary, recording six catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns. He resembled the same explosive rookie from the beginning of the season. Michael Crabtree caught six passes for 70 yards. Seth Roberts missed three quarters due to injury. Andre Holmes failed to contribute on a major production scale, accumulating two catches for 17 yards.

    Tight Ends: D

    After consecutive weeks of solid production from the tight ends, Mychal Rivera and rookie Clive Walford put up pedestrian numbers. The pair of tight ends combined for five catches and 30 yards.

    Offensive Line: B

    In a debut start, rookie right guard Jon Feliciano held his own as a solid component in the ground attack. Murray gained seven yards running toward the right end on the first offensive play. 

    Overall, the offensive line opened wide gaps for Murray and Carr on scrambles toward the outside. On the other hand, the Packers registered three sacks in the second half.

    Defensive Line: B-

    The defensive line kept Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the pocket, hindering his options for a potential escape on improvised scrambles.

    In the first half, Oakland’s run defense also limited Green Bay’s ground attack.

    However, the hinges came off in the fourth quarter when Starks made a 25-yard run deep into Raiders territory.

    Linebackers: A-

    The heart of the defense remained stout and didn’t allow ample receiving yards.

    Khalil Mack and Ben Heeney each logged a sack. Malcolm Smith didn’t allow the running backs to run a track meet in the flat on dump-off passes. Packers tight end Richard Rodgers only caught one pass for seven yards over the middle.

    Defensive Backs: B

    Safety Charles Woodson connected on some jarring hits all over the field. One hit allowed Mayowa to rip the football from Starks’ possession.

    Cornerback David Amerson outperformed all Raiders defensive backs, logging an interception on an ill-advised throw in the red zone. T.J. Carrie cost the defense 45 yards on two penalties.

    Special Teams: B

    Kicker Sebastian Janikowski nailed two field goals and two extra-point attempts. Punter Marquette King pinned the Packers inside their 20-yard line on two out of five punts. However, the Raiders' special teams surrendered a pivotal 47-yard kickoff return to wideout Jeff Janis.

    Coaching: C-

    Despite a productive first half, the coaching staff inexplicably abandoned the ground attack. Murray logged 15 carries for 64 yards in the first half and six touches for 14 yards in the second half.

    The Raiders started the third quarter down one point and failed to continue Murray’s success on the ground.

    In the second half, the Raiders allowed an easy touchdown to Packers wideout James Jones on a miscommunication, resulting in a busted pass coverage near the sideline. Woodson raised his arms as to say, “What’s going on?”

    The coaches failed to prepare the defense, which allowed the Packers to regain a lead.

    In the fourth quarter, the offense lacked fluidity. Carr’s throws didn’t match the receivers’ routes. Uncoordinated alignments and missed assignments highlighted poor on-field coaching or lack of preparation.

Amari Cooper Reaches 1,000 Receiving Yards

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    Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    Cooper became the first Raiders wideout to surpass 1,000 receiving yards since Randy Moss in 2005, per Associated Press writer Josh Dubow.

    When comparing 1,000-yard seasons, Cooper (1,040) has already topped Moss’ (1,005) receiving yards total.

    The rookie wideout reestablished himself as the team's go-to receiver on Sunday. He scored both Raiders touchdowns and outplayed Packers standout rookie cornerback Damarious Randall in one-on-one situations.

Seth Roberts Exits with Abdominal Injury

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    Rob Leiter/Getty Images

    According to CSN Bay Area reporter Fallon Smith, Roberts left the game with an abdominal injury.

    At the end of the first quarter, a touchdown pass slipped through Roberts’ fingers. After that missed opportunity, he didn't return to the field. He finished the game with zero catches.

    The Raiders have a short week ahead, eyeing a Thursday-night game against the San Diego Chargers. Wideout Rod Streater could play significant snaps, pending Roberts’ availability.

Raiders Officially Eliminated from Playoff Contention

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Oakland's loss ensures another season without a playoff berth, which makes 13 seasons since the franchise clinched a spot in the postseason, per Dubow.

    When analyzing this Raiders team, most analysts would agree there are roster cornerstones to propel the franchise into playoff contention. However, the analysis usually ends with a vote of confidence for next season.

    The Raiders have made improvements, but the team has fallen short of postseason play for another year.

Woodson on Raiders' Future

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Woodson has played for and against some quality teams. In a postgame interview with local reporters, he offered a glass-half-full assessment of the team’s direction.

    “The team is under great leadership under the direction of Jack Del Rio and this team will be a team to look out for, trust me,” said Woodson.

    A somber mood falls over Raider Nation after an eighth loss in a 13th consecutive non-winning season, but Woodson sees bigger and better outcomes for the team. At 6-8, two wins to close out the season would avoid a losing season.

    Coaches hate to talk about moral victories, but the team has fought hard even in defeat. The Raiders have only lost three games by more than one score.

    Raiders fans hate to hear projections of a better next year, but this time, it's a solid assessment with realistic playoff implications.

    Follow Maurice Moton on Twitter for news, updates and intriguing discussion about the Oakland Raiders.

    All statistics are provided by Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football Focus and Team Rankings, unless otherwise noted.

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